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'Drugs fuelling Cape gang wars'

CT CPFs say drugs and gang rivalry is at the centre of the recent spike in gang violence.

A chart showing gang violence hotspots in Cape Town communities. Picture: Chantall Presence/EWN

CAPE TOWN - Several Cape Town Community Policing Forums (CPFs) suspect drugs might be fueling the recent spike in gang violence.

Residents from Bishop Lavis, Delft and Ravensmead have expressed concern following an increase in drive-by shootings.

Around 11 people have died in a string of shootings across the Cape Peninsula over the past 10 days.

In Delft alone five people were gunned down in separate alleged gang-related incidents last week.

Bishop Lavis CPF chair, Faizal Abrahams said, "I don't think enough is being done, I don't think enough will be done as long as lives are being lost.

"Somewhere along the line we need to get very serious about our intelligence about how we get the information through."

Raven's CPF's chairperson David Olifees said that after six weeks of constant shootings they have decided to take back their communities.

Delft CPF chair Reggie Maart said people felt unsafe in the area.

"Most of the shootings are related to drugs and rivalry between gangs in the area."

The CPFs said authorities should stop paying lip-service to the gang problem.

OTHER DEATHS

Shootings were also reported in Mitchells Plain, Kraaifontein and Elsies River.

On Thursday, the brother of an alleged gang boss was wounded during a drive by shooting in Belhar.

The board's Hanif Loonat also believes the drug trade is at the heart of the matter.

"It's become a normal trend in our communities to see that gangsters have taken on each other in the public domain and in doing so innocent people are being shot and killed."

Meanwhile, Delft CPF said a number of measures will be implemented to ensure the success of an anti-crime campaign.

Operation Take Back was launched last week.

Residents have given suspected gang and drug lords an ultimatum to stop their activities or leave the area.

Maart said residents were afraid to leave their homes due to the ongoing shootings.

"The aim is to get all the drug lords and all the gang bosses out of the area. We need to take back the streets and our parks and everything that belong to the community because that's where our gangs are shooting."

'DRUG RUNNING FOR FOOD & EDUCATION'

The CPF on Thursday also urged residents in gang riddled communities to refrain from selling drugs in return for favours from gang bosses.

Loonat said in many instances, parents agree to be drug runners while kingpins promised to put their children through school and satisfy other daily needs.

He said although it was a desperate attempt by poor mothers to care for their children, it was one of the reasons that gang violence remained rife in the Western Cape.

"Gangsters are as strong as the support they get from their communities. As communities we need to cut ties with these gangsters. We need to clampdown on them instead of using them as a means to put food on the table."

In 2012, over 30 people including children were killed in gang-related violence throughout the province.

Gangsterism affects schooling as many children are forced to stay indoors due to random shootings.

Lats year, Western Cape Premier Helen Zille asked the Presidency to deploy the army to quell gang-violence, but her request was denied.

The Presidency said soldiers were not trained to deal with civilians.